Embrace any experience which presents itself; one of them might be the stepping stone to the rest of your life.
Where do you expect to be in 10 years time? NYSF 2009 Year 12 Program alumna Dr Cristina Valero always thought she'd end up working in the health sciences, but never expected to be teaching so early into her career!
"My name is Dr Cristina Valero, and I was lucky enough to attend the NYSF in January 2009.
It’s been a LONG time since then, but the experiences, memories and friendships are as strong as ever.
At the time that applications opened, I had never heard of this forum. I have my Year 12 biology teacher to thank for encouraging me to submit my forms – without her I never would have attended, and I can’t picture how different my life would have been without this experience.
From the moment I first stepped onto that bus from Adelaide I was instantly part of this vibrant and engaged youth community. The NYSF provided incredible educational opportunities, social and networking engagements and above all, challenges and growth.
Prior to attending, I knew I wanted to work in health – however I hadn’t set my heart on any one career pathway. I had always been interested in medicine, but hadn’t really considered how I would apply. The workshops, interview coaching and mock career interviews provided me with the foundations that would later help me overcome the barrier entry exams to medical school – but far more valuable than that were the friendships and networks that those 2 weeks created.
10 years later, and I am now a fully qualified Rural General Practitioner, working in South Australia’s Barossa Valley. I completed my MBBS at the University of Adelaide, and after working in various metropolitan hospitals I made the change to Rural GP training and couldn’t be happier for it. As part of the program I was able to work in multiple rural communities in SA, and completed my extended skills in Sports and Musculoskeletal Medicine.
I have completed extra education and training through the Diploma of Child Health in Sydney, Certificates in skin cancer medicine and have basic certification in point of care Radiography (X-Ray and Ultrasound). Excitingly, I have also recently been given the opportunity to work in medical education across a few different fields.
I am lucky enough to be working part time with an incredible team teaching the Year 3 University of Adelaide Medical students their Year 3 Clinical Skills. I have also started working for the South Australia GP training provider (GPEx) in registrar medical education, and am the GP advisor for South Australia for the trial of the General Practice Registrars Australia Future General Practitioner Network (FGP).
I have always loved education, but never imagined that I would be provided with the opportunity to work in the roles that I do so early in my career. I would encourage anyone reading this article to look into how you could incorporate field education into your future career plans -it keeps you motivated and enthused, and allows you to see your job through fresh eyes.
Outside of work, I love a good netball game (when restrictions lift!), and spend time running with my dog (Taz) – pictured. I also love a good catch up with my NYSF crew – from bucket hats on day 1 to now, our friendships are as strong as ever.
My advice to new students – embrace any experience which presents itself; one of them might be the stepping stone to the rest of your life. There are a lucky few that get to experience NYSF, and I really hope that you can be one of them."